American courtrooms: another 21st century battlefield

By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

22 January 2008: American courtrooms are as much a battlefront in the war against Islamic terrorism as are the volatile, terrorist-filled cities in Iraq and the mountains and caves of Afghanistan. Unfortunately, too few understand the role of our court system as a terrorist weapon of distraction and harassment, and the grave potential consequences to our country.

gavelThe multi-faceted events taking place within our legal system at the hands of rabid, anti-U.S. and anti-war dupes are poised to be as effective as the physical attacks that preceded them. In fact, they could well become insidiously more effective, as the victories of the terrorists and their supporters in this venue do not evoke the same emotional response as seeing planes strike buildings and people jumping to their deaths. And to the Islamic terrorists, so much the better.

At the delight of our Islamic enemies who want to change our system of government and ultimately, our way of life by all possible means, our legal system is being whored out by the politically left-of-center, vocal anti-war crowd who believe that terrorists in our midst are nothing more than fictional boogey-men contrived by an administration that enjoys trampling on the human rights of innocent individuals. How else could you explain the plight of former U.S. Justice Department official John C. YOO, who is currently the defendant in a personal liability lawsuit filed by convicted terrorist José PADILLA and his mother?

PADILLA is the Muslim terrorist convicted last year of offenses that included conspiring to commit murder, kidnapping and maiming, and of providing material support to terrorists. PADILLA and his mother are using our own courts to subvert the war against Islamic terrorists by harassing and attacking the government officials who stopped him from successfully committing terrorist attacks on our own soil in the first place.

Earlier this month, YOO was sued by PADILLA, who is demanding a “declaration” stating that his detention by the U.S. government was unconstitutional, one-dollar in damages, and full recovery of his legal costs, the latter which could be substantial. In a twist of irony, the “legal eagles” behind convicted terrorist PADILLA and his mother are Yale Law School attorneys, and YOO is a Yale Law School alumnus. It would be interesting to hear how donors to the National Litigation Project at the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School would feel to learn that some of their money is being used to fund the case of a terrorist against a fellow alumnus. That aside, there are more potentially severe ramifications if the suit by PADILLA succeeds.

The personal liability lawsuit is an overt attack against the anti-terrorism policies of the United States by political activists who want to sully the judicial system with their leftist views of the war, and inappropriately impose political policy through the courts.

Successful or not, such lawsuits have the potential to adversely affect the efforts of our government officials – those who are truly intent on winning the war in which we are engaged – to the extent that they will be forced to weigh their policy decisions against the possibility of having to personally defend against lawsuits filed by terrorists and their supporters. This is an unacceptable and contemptuous abuse of our legal system.